Monday, September 23rd 2019

Exclusivity Costs: EPIC Games Store's Control Cost $10.5 million to Become PC Exclusive

Control is one of the better single player releases of this year already, and has been enough of a success for Remedy and 505 Games to launch a content roadmap stretching all the way to 2020. The game is being served on PC exclusively through the EPIC Games Store, which, besides offering developers higher revenues than Steam, has also launched an all-out campaign to secure high-profile exclusives such as Control and Metro: Exodus (even if some of them are timed exclusives).

Now, an Italian earnings report from 505 games highlights that the developers received a lump, $10.5 million upfront from EPIC; according to the report, "Revenue comes from the computer version of Control (...) The game was released on August 27 but the structure of the marketplace who requested the PC exclusivity has made possible to gain the revenue starting from this quarter." It appears EPIC is offering a safety net for developers in exchange for the exclusivity deals, paying upfront the amount of revenue developers expect to receive from the games' sales throughout the PC platform. In this case, the $10.5 million correspond to a total of 200,000 individual sales of Control. Until that number is achieved, EPIC keeps the full revenue from every sale. Any units sold starting from 200,000, and the revenue is split between the developer and EPIC. It's a win-win, really: EPIC gets more and more traction and publicity on its store, and developers guarantee they get the minimum amount they'd expect to earn by selling the game across the full spectrum of PC marketplaces.
Source: Ars Technica
Add your own comment

119 Comments on Exclusivity Costs: EPIC Games Store's Control Cost $10.5 million to Become PC Exclusive

#1
Diverge
No game on steam, no purchase from me...
Posted on Reply
#2
dinmaster
people giving epic store crap, not too bad. I've also seen the store updated again and again bringing a little more functionality every time. keep it up.
Posted on Reply
#3
yakk
Competition through exclusivity.
Posted on Reply
#4
Jeager
Sorry but I don't understand, if you don't reach your goal (here 200k) EPIC will not give you any penny ?
Posted on Reply
#5
kapone32
Diverge, post: 4121030, member: 18504"
No game on steam, no purchase from me...
Indeed we are going from an Autocratic gaming platform to having a democratic system based on Steam vs Epic which should be a good thing. Yet users like you blindly exclude it because it is not from the other player in the space. I have them all installed in my computer (GOG, Uplay, Battlenet, Origin) and the Epic is currently my favourite if not simply because we get free games all the time. The download utility in EPIC is also faster than Steam and a little more informative too in terms of downloads for me.
Posted on Reply
#6
64K
At the end of the day people are just people. They will defend Epic just like they defended Valve for having their exclusives on Steam 14 years ago but Valve didn't pay other Publishers to make their games exclusive to Steam.
Posted on Reply
#7
Sithaer
Jeager, post: 4121048, member: 89972"
Sorry but I don't understand, if you don't reach your goal (here 200k) EPIC will not give you any penny ?
They do,10.5$ million is given for the exclusivity and then they split the profit after 200k sold units.
Posted on Reply
#8
Wyverex
Jeager, post: 4121048, member: 89972"
Sorry but I don't understand, if you don't reach your goal (here 200k) EPIC will not give you any penny ?
I think it's the other way around - EPIC will pay you as if you had 200k sales in any case, EPIC is the one risking here.
Posted on Reply
#9
Solid State Soul ( SSS )
dinmaster, post: 4121031, member: 31212"
people giving epic store crap, not too bad. I've also seen the store updated again and again bringing a little more functionality every time. keep it up.
I wish my life was so boring that my first world problems are having to install a new launcher to play games or spiderman leaving the MCU :oops:
Posted on Reply
#10
Jeager
Ok thanks I wasn't sure to understand it right !
But what is the risk here ? They will lost a few dollars on hosts/bandwidths ? Doesn't sound like a risk at all
Posted on Reply
#11
kapone32
Solid State Soul ( SSS ), post: 4121058, member: 181777"
I wish my life was so boring that my first world problems are having to install a new launcher to play games or spiderman leaving the MCU :oops:
Well Spiderman leaving the MCU is a huge deal especially after Far From Home.

Jeager, post: 4121060, member: 89972"
Ok thanks I wasn't sure to understand it right !
But what is the risk here ? They will lost a few dollars on hosts/bandwiths ? Doesn't sound like a risk at all
It is a risk if the game is a flop and gets negative Day 1 reviews. It would be like KOA which the money was spent up front and the sales were not good enough in the time frame required (first 6 months) so the developer had to close up shop.
Posted on Reply
#12
Solid State Soul ( SSS )
Jeager, post: 4121060, member: 89972"
Ok thanks I wasn't sure to understand it right !
But what is the risk here ? They will lost a few dollars on hosts/bandwiths ? Doesn't sound like a risk at all
Part of the agreement of the epic exclusivity is that, should the game not sell according to the publisher\developer expectations on the EGS, Epic will pay the loses for the lost sales so in short its not a risk for the most part. One way or the other tim sweeny already paid the devs for you copy
Posted on Reply
#13
64K
Did anyone wonder if Control would sell well? Did the Publisher wonder that as well?

Some deals by Epic fall into this category but Control doesn't imo
Posted on Reply
#14
JAB Creations
Clarification for those also were initially confused: Epic pays the developers up-front $10.5 million because they want to attract titles to their platform. Once sales start they obviously need to recuperate the money that they paid the developers until a certain point which they split the sales. Beyond a certain point the money seems to start going straight to the developer.

This is actually (if you understand it and I had to read it twice) actually a really cool setup. As a developer I can say it's either feast or famine and software takes a long time to develop and polish.
Posted on Reply
#16
neatfeatguy
If EPIC was actually the developer for the game and they wanted to hold it on their platform only, that's okay with me. If I wanted the game I would go through EGS then. Ubisoft does this - they have games you can only purchase through Uplay. Sure, they may dump the game on other platforms, but it is their gaming platform and their game. If I want the game, I'll go through Uplay.

If a developer simply decides to only put their game on a specific platform - we'll say Origin, even if EA isn't the developer and EA isn't paying them for exclusive rights, then that's the developer's decision and I'd be okay with that. Should I want the game, then I'd pick it up on Origin.

Since EPIC is not the developer and Control has no ties to EPIC (barring this exclusivity contract) I won't support this game by making a purchase, regardless if it's later released on another platform. I do not agree with a company pigeonholing a game to help drive visits to their digital platform. Should 505 Games/Remedy Entertainment come out and said there was no exclusivity contract with EPIC, but they choose to use EGS for their game - that's okay with me. I'd pick the game up should I want it. Sadly, that's not the case here, according to the OP.

Looks like this will be another game I will not support.
Posted on Reply
#17
64K
JAB Creations, post: 4121074, member: 157241"
Clarification for those also were initially confused: Epic pays the developers up-front $10.5 million because they want to attract titles to their platform. Once sales start they obviously need to recuperate the money that they paid the developers until a certain point which they split the sales. Beyond a certain point the money seems to start going straight to the developer.
Not in this case. Epic paid the money for exclusivity.
Posted on Reply
#18
JAB Creations
64K, post: 4121081, member: 148270"
Not in this case. Epic paid the money for exclusivity.
That's what I just said.
Posted on Reply
#19
64K
JAB Creations, post: 4121083, member: 157241"
That's what I just said.
Oh. Well nevermind then.
Posted on Reply
#20
Diverge
kapone32, post: 4121049, member: 181865"
Indeed we are going from an Autocratic gaming platform to having a democratic system based on Steam vs Epic which should be a good thing. Yet users like you blindly exclude it because it is not from the other player in the space. I have them all installed in my computer (GOG, Uplay, Battlenet, Origin) and the Epic is currently my favourite if not simply because we get free games all the time. The download utility in EPIC is also faster than Steam and a little more informative too in terms of downloads for me.
1) It's not democratic. If it were really democratic, it would be on all stores, and customers would have a choice of buying it wherever they want.
2) I don't blindly follow. I choose Steam because I'm heavily invested in it. It's my platform of choice, and I'm not changing it because I want my library in one place.
Posted on Reply
#21
_Flare
It is now very time-consuming not to lose sight of all my games, but hopefully better than a monopoly.
Dictating the price and possibly exploiting market dominance by Valve/Steam would be worse than the more free choice of the publishers/studios and more effort in remembering where i have wich of my games.
Posted on Reply
#22
kapone32
Diverge, post: 4121090, member: 18504"
1) It's not democratic. If it were really democratic, it would be on all stores, and customers would have a choice of buying it wherever they want.
2) I don't blindly follow. I choose Steam because I'm heavily invested in it. It's my platform of choice, and I'm not changing it because I want my library in one place.
1. When I talk about demo vs auto I am talking about Steam: There were games that were released exclusively on Steam for PC and it still happens but now Epic is doing the exact same thing and there are some of the same PC games available on both platforms.
2. Most of my games are also on Steam but it is simple to launch or even see Epic games in your Steam library it would just be to use the add a non Steam game and you would be good.

Regardless it is never a good thing to summarily discredit or lament on something because it is different than what you are used to.
Posted on Reply
#23
64K
Steam/Valve has been selling exclusives on their store for 14 years now. Valve is the originator of the digital exclusive but they didn't pay another Publisher for rights to exclusivity.
Posted on Reply
#24
robot zombie
Seems like an I scratch your back you scratch mine scenario. Epic gets these big sought after games as a draw to thier growing platform while the studios get protected from the pitfalls of launch periods, which have a history for doing them in for reasons other than the game being bad... usually due to a combo of bad launch/reaction and predatory deals. No more wait and pray for the money to... staff people and make more games/content.

I mean... kinda making the devs/publishers offers they can't refuse. They'd be kinda crazy not to take the money if you ask me. It's not really taking advantage when both parties are in agreement. What epic is offering them is extremely valuable. Make or break money right up front. Huge monkey off of everyone's backs.

I see pitfalls too, though. Why make a game that's good and sells when you can make your money anyway? Now epic is just a stepping stone. Enough of those could bring the whole thing down.

And then there's the obvious element of how things will be when they're fully situated and this all flips around.

I say best of luck to em. A few of my favorite games are on EGS and I hope this really does allow the people behind them enough success to continue bringing us more awesome games.
Posted on Reply
#25
kapone32
64K, post: 4121097, member: 148270"
Steam/Valve has been selling exclusives on their store for 14 years now. Valve is the originator of the digital exclusive but they didn't pay another Publisher for rights to exclusivity.
Yes because they didn't have to, there was no one else in the Space so developers had no choice but to use Valve and since it represented DRM everybody jumped on it.

robot zombie, post: 4121100, member: 179396"
Seems like an I scratch your back you scratch mine scenario. Epic gets these big sought after games as a draw to thier growing platform while the studios get protected from the pitfalls of launch periods, which have a history for doing them in for reasons other than the game being bad... usually due to a combo of bad launch/reaction and predatory deals. No more wait and pray for the money to... staff people and make more games/content.

I mean... kinda making the devs offers they can't refuse. They'd be kinda crazy not to take the money if you ask me. It's not really taking advantage when both parties are in agreement. What epic is offering them is extremely valuable. Make or break money right up front.

I see pitfalls too, though. Why make a game that's good and sells when you can make your money anyway? Now epic is just a stepping stone. Enough of those could bring the whole thing down.

And then there's the obvious element of how things will be when they're full situated and this all flips around.
Even if Epic is gaining traction they have a long way to go. I do fully agree with you though. I know if I was a game developer and someone offered me an upfront payment for the right to sell my game I would be stoked. I used Kingdoms of Amulaur in another post as an example of how this would be good.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment